Multicultural audiences are continuing to grow in size and influence. For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 46.9 million Hispanics in the United States, which represents approximately one in six Americans. Further, a 2008 Pew Hispanic Center report said Hispanics have accounted for more than half of the overall population growth in the United States in the current decade, a significant pattern for the nation's largest minority group, which currently comprises 15 percent of the total U.S. citizenry. And The Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia projects that U.S. Hispanic purchasing power will reach $1.2 trillion by 2012, nearly three times the growth of the overall national rate.
Clearly, it is becoming increasingly important to target multicultural communities. So as communicators – how are we going to speak with these audiences? How are your messages going to be adjusted to really resonate in the daily lives of multicultural consumers? Some companies are well grounded on this highway and have understood the importance of adjusting their messaging for years. Examples include P&G, General Mills, McDonalds and Verizon. But are most marketers really ready?
The investment in multicultural marketing and campaigns should not solely focus on special times of the year such as Black History and Hispanic Heritage months, but should be year-long, ongoing programs that address a community’s needs. We have said- “dedicate dollars to these communities and the return will come with strong brand awareness and support.” Now it seems that if marketers don’t see that the mainstream is multicultural- your messages will fall short.
Will your brand speak to millions of Americans that have varying cultural nuances which impact their purchasing decisions? For example, how will your brand connect with recently arrived, soon-to-be Americans? Will they choose product X because they read about a new initiative in their local newspaper or read it online, in their native language? Or did X consumer see an ad online that connected with them?
One general overview we know most assuredly – people of all shapes, colors, origins, educational and financial levels are talking. Make your brand, initiative or organization take part in those discussions. Set aside dollars within your already constrained budget for research that may highlight areas of opportunity. Don’t just sell to your target audience- engage them. Build a relationship with a community previously not considered in marketing, advertising or PR plans.
As marketing and communications professionals- invest in your own knowledge and development. There are many webinars and local events sponsored by key industry organizations that offer continued tactical learning. Take the time – it will be well worth it.
PR Newswire and MultiVu offer a comprehensive set of tools and services to help communications and marketing professionals reach multicultural audiences, including Hispanic PR Wire, MultiVu Latino, Hispanic Digital Network, ProfNet en Espanol and newslines that target multicultural audiences.